Island News

Arvin turns a new chapter in life

Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. Life behind bars is never enjoyable as you are bound to pay for your sins while serving your term. Well for someone who has been
19 Jul 2008 12:00

image Written By : WAME BAUTOLU. Life behind bars is never enjoyable as you are bound to pay for your sins while serving your term.
Well for someone who has been beaten and bruised during his time inside, Arvin Kumar Singh has had enough of Prison Life and has said “Thank you” and doesn’t wish to return inside in what he describes as a hellhole.
The 24 year-old is originally from Veisari in Ba and laughs while he talks about his time inside to Island Life.
Arvin was released from Korovou Prison last Thursday, July 17 and he trying to fit his life together ever since.He was convicted in December, 2004 for robbery with violence and the Ba man says Prison has taken so much away from him.
“Prison life is hard, it is not a fantasy life like we often see in movies when prisoners go around and enjoy themselves in a pretty acceptable environment. Even the food we see in the movies is nothing like what we had experience here in Fiji,” said Arvin.
Broken down family is what that had lead Arvin to commit such crimes and he recalls way back in 1999 when his family started falling apart.
“My father was a former police who had passed away in 1999. After his death, my mother got married and we never got along well with our new father,” said Arvin. Being the eldest in the family of three, he got fed up with how he and his younger brother and sister were being manipulated by his new step father.
That was way back in 2002 when he left home and moved to live with his cousins in Korovuto, Ba.
Street life was how he had survived in the Tourist town doing odd jobs like shinning shoes and cleaning up compounds. Finally he was given a chance to drive a van where he met many people.
“I had known many people as they fancied my fancy driving skills. Then one day I was approached by some of my friends if I was interested in earning extra money by driving for them in a robbery attempt,” said Arvin.
For Arvin, he thought it would be a perfect robbery because he was informed they had based their plan on an architectural sketch of Anita Jewelers in Ba and also a map of the town.
He was old just to drive to Ba on that day and nothing about an escape routine had been informed to him and he thought this was one of the main reasons they got caught.
“They had expected me to get them out of Ba Town without any trouble and not long after we had robbed Anita Jewelers the long arms of the law caught up with us,” said Arvin.
According to Arvin, there were six of them altogether and had two getaway vehicles in which he was driving one.
The other vehicles which had all the loot inside were caught by police one hour after the robbery but Arvin’s getaway vehicle managed to get away.
“They had a total of $250,000 worth of jewelries which was all recovered and police are still saying that some of the gold is still missing. I was caught a month later after my colleges informed the police about me and I got convicted in December 2004.”
Arvin laughs when describing his first day at Natabua Prison when all other inmates were staring at him knowing about his conviction.
At that moment, he felt like a celebrity walking into his cell and this was the only time he had enjoyed himself not knowing pain and tortured would follow.
“The fun had begun the next day when I was being verbally abuse by other inmates and some prison wardens as well. Then after three weeks I was been transferred to Korovou Prison in which I would await my release a year later,” said Arvin. The prisons walls are dark and lonely and not a single night that had gone by, Arvin thought about his younger siblings and his girlfriend. “That’s what prison can do to you, it can slowly crumble your heart and as time moves on it takes everything you hold dearly to your heart away. Now I could understand the saying “time and tide waits for no man” and I believe that is what is happening to me know.”
The thought of his girlfriend and family had got to him and one day he woke up deciding to escape so that he could just get a glimpse of his loved ones.
“It also hurts if you don’t get any visitors or any letters from anyone you love. I usually have that feeling of been rejected every time I see other inmates talk to their loved ones during visiting hours,” said Arvin.
During his time at Korovou, he was drafted to work in the Kitchen helping out in cooking and washing dishes.
Arvin said he was told of a tunnel in a kitchen area which had been there from long time ago.
“We use to dispose our kitchen garbage in the tunnel and the tunnel leads to Naraiyan Jetty. I managed to sneak out one afternoon and was one the run for three months. As I got to Naraiyan Jetty I swam across to Rokobili and managed to get clothes hanging outside the homes of Delainavesi,” said Arvin. The 24-year-old was on the run for three months and had gone in hiding right in the interior of Keyasi and Navosa.
He was finally apprehended in Navakai in Nadi as his attempt to reach Ba to see his loved ones was cut short and his prison term got extended as a result.
At the beginning of the year, he was informed that his girlfriend is now married and has settle down with her husband in Ba. After been released last Thursday he was informed by his relatives in Nadi that his family in Ba doesn’t want him back and this news had further tore him apart.
Now faced with rejection, Arvin has decided to forget all about the past and carry on with his new life hoping that one day his family would accept him back with arms wide open.

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